Alastair Clarkson hopes his former assistant coach Brett Ratten can become the AFL's version of Bill Belichick.
Ratten made the perfect return to senior coaching on Sunday when St Kilda upset the Western Bulldogs.
He is interim coach at the Saints after last week's departure of Alan Richardson.
Ratten wants a permanent senior coaching role beyond this season, with his old club Carlton and North Melbourne also in the market.
The former Blues captain coached the club from 2007 until he was sacked in 2012 and then served under Clarkson as the Hawks had their 2013-15 premiership three-peat.
Clarkson strongly endorsed Ratten for a senior coaching job on Monday morning and brought up the example of Belichick, who was sacked from the Cleveland Browns before guiding the New England Patriots to six Superbowl titles.
"It's nearly a badge of honour in the US to have had a go at coaching and failed, Clarkson told SEN.
"You come back a much better coach second time around, sometimes third time around - Ratts is certainly that.
"Whether or not he goes on to be a premiership coach, I just hope he gets another opportunity.
"He has a great footy brain, he's a great footy person and he's a great fella to boot. He made a great contribution to our footy club."
Clarkson said Ratten had been ready to become a senior coach again for some time, but noted the 2015 death of his son Cooper in a car accident.
"So that knocks the family around a little bit, in terms of what they wanted ... when a family member goes, everything goes back to just being family," Clarkson said.
"But slowly footy has come back into his life. It's been a really important part of the fabric of how they go about things.
"He's been ready to coach ever since he left Carlton, really - he should never have been out of it."
North Melbourne's loss to Brisbane on Saturday night means they join the Saints and Carlton as being out of the top-eight hunt.
Kangaroos caretaker coach Rhyce Shaw has the inside running for now, while Carlton are unlikely to go for an untried senior coach despite David Teague's equally-impressive start.
Port Adelaide are a factor, potentially for three reasons.
Power assistant and former Brisbane coach Michael Voss is another obvious candidate for a return to a senior role.
Then there is talk that Port might try to lure Richardson back to Alberton as an assistant.
But the X-factor could be Power coach Ken Hinkley, despite him denying speculation from Rodney Eade earlier this month that Carlton could try to entice him back to Victoria.
Australian Associated Press